User research and nonprofits | npENGAGE

User research and nonprofits

By on Aug 10, 2009


Do you listen to your users? Do you ask them for feedback about what you’re doing online? Do you update your website to better serve the needs of those visiting? As a non-profit, you should be answering “yes” to all of these questions!

Researching users is important for any business. Software companies watch people use their products to identify potential problems. eCommerce stores monitor traffic within their site to see where visitors leave during the checkout process. Large commercial companies conduct market research to see who consumes their products. Many successful non-profits also realize why user research is important.

User research is, in fact, MORE important for non-profits than for any commercial company. As a non-profit, you’re not just asking for a quick purchase or decision – you’re asking for a relationship. That’s the only thing that’s going to get folks to donate after all. Have you ever heard of a relationship where only one person talks and doesn’t listen? It doesn’t work too well. I suggest you start a conversation with your users. Send them surveys, schedule interviews, ask for feedback. Then, apply their feedback into your web presence. Your users will thank you.

Are you listening? If so, let us know how you’re listening and what you’re learning in the comments.


Lacey Kruger, principal information architect for Blackbaud, designs online properties for nonprofits that delight and inspire. Whether a full scale website, a campaign site or a peer to peer fundraising site, Lacey guides clients through a research-based and user-centered approach to design. In her 15+ years at Blackbaud, she has developed a deep understanding of nonprofit web presences. That knowledge, along with her years of experience in information design, have established her as an industry expert.

Lacey has written a Blackbaud eBook, “A Guide to the Nonprofit Web Design Process” and her article, “Designing Nonprofit Experiences: Building a UX Toolkit” was published in User Experience magazine. She has presented at industry conferences including bbcon, IA Summit and BIG Design.

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